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Strengthening Healthcare Systems in Canada and Around the World

May 20/2022

The new NorthWest International Policy Network will bolster systems of primary care and examine pressing issues in health policy, particularly around pandemics.

The University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health is establishing the NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT International Policy Network at its Institute for Pandemics. Supported by a gift of $5 million from NorthWest, the network will help build equitable, co-ordinated policies and public health efforts across Canada and around the world. It will also uncover policy insights to lead the Institute for Pandemics in vital, cross-disciplinary collaborations that aim to solve some of the world’s biggest health problems.

University of Toronto officials made the announcement on April 12, 2022.

“We are tremendously excited to announce this new partnership and are grateful to NorthWest Healthcare for their generosity,” says University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. “The NorthWest International Policy Network is a timely and hopeful initiative, one that the University of Toronto is uniquely positioned to lead, in partnership with our colleagues at the University of Melbourne. It will help to build more resilient and sustainable health systems in our post-COVID world, leading to greater well-being for people and communities around the world.”

By examining pressing issues in health systems and policy in Canada and jurisdictions around the world, the NorthWest International Policy Network will initially partner the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health—two world leaders in the study of public health. Insights gleaned from the network will apply to both Australia and Canada, given their similar federated governments and health systems. Over time, and supported by NorthWest’s generous philanthropy, the network plans to expand to other global academic institutions and national systems.

An endowed Chair in Comparative Health Policy and Systems will lead the NorthWest International Policy Network in building an advanced research, education and knowledge translation platform with global academic partners. Other funds will support collaborative research and knowledge mobilization, while training the next generation of scholars.

“Time and again, I have seen the impact that teachers, policy advisors, and researchers at the University of Toronto can make,” says Paul Dalla Lana, founder, chairman and CEO of NorthWest. “With this new network, we are providing hope—and strengthening this impact—both here in Canada today, then around the world and for years to come.”

Founded in 2004, and publicly traded since 2010, NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX: NWH.UN) serves leading health-care providers—both hospital operators and individual practitioners—through developing, managing, and owning a diversified and high-quality portfolio of properties. NorthWest develops, manages, and owns approximately 200 health-care properties around the world.

“The NorthWest International Policy Network will help build the resilience we need to navigate both COVID-19 and future pandemics,” says Prof. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “This partnership brings together thought leaders who will guide the creation of more sound, relevant policy for health systems around the world.”

Following its initial partnership with the University of Melbourne, the new network aims to expand to top-tier higher education partners across the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil. It will focus on creating more resilient and integrated public health and health-care systems. Ultimately, the network will facilitate cross-jurisdictional co-operation to benefit health systems and patients across the globe, with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health providing leadership and oversight of the network.

The Institute for Pandemics, where the network is situated, was founded in 2020. It is the world’s first academic centre dedicated exclusively to preventing, preparing for, fighting, and recovering from pandemics. The NorthWest International Policy Network will also work in collaboration and partnership with researchers at the North American Observatory at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Building on U of T’s deep history in public health and health systems, this institute aims, in part, to mitigate the human suffering and economic devastation caused by pandemics.

“This new network will strengthen systems of primary and acute care, helping to ensure equitable and co-ordinated national, regional and local policy on disease management,” says David Palmer, the University of Toronto’s Vice-President, Advancement. “Thank you to NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT for this investment and for helping us realize our vision of stronger global health care.”